Industrial Manslaughter laws in Australia are about politics, not safety

The latest push for Industrial Manslaughter laws in Australia has appeared as part of the Tasmanian state election.

The Tasmanian branch of the Australian Labor Party released its policy platform for jobs in February 2018 which makes specific and vague commitments on workplace safety which require scrutiny.

Precarious Work

The Tasmanian Labor Leader, Rebecca White, states that

“Labor is committed to addressing casualisation and the outsourcing of work…”

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Farm newspaper supplement gets a good wrap

The Weekly Times newspaper has included an 8-page wraparound to its 7 February 2018 edition about workplace safety. The supplement is timely, the contents are indicative of cultural and political changes and the supplement is a nice summary of the multiple hazards and management approaches needed in agriculture (the same as in most industries, really).

Data quoted liberally from

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Victoria is ripe for Industrial Manslaughter laws

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The Victorian trade union movement is preparing for the November 2018 State Election with one element of that campaign being the advocacy of Industrial Manslaughter laws.

At the end of January 2018, the unions “kicked off” their campaign with a meeting which reviewed the challenges and wins for injured workers in 2017 and outlined their intentions for 2018. The Industrial Manslaughter Action Kit included a petition which says: Continue reading “Victoria is ripe for Industrial Manslaughter laws”

Who reads the Robens Report and who will write the next one?

“Every year something like 1,000 people are killed at their work in this country. Every year about half a million suffer injuries in varying degrees of severity. 23 million working days are lost annually on account of industrial injury and disease.”

The existence of this statement is of no surprise to occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals. Similar statements are made all the time.  The sad surprise of this quote is that it appeared in 1972 on page 1 of the Safety and Health at Work – Report of the Committee 1970-72, otherwise know as the Robens Report.

Perhaps it is time to begin contemplating what OHS fundamentals we should apply in the next generation of workplace safety health and wellbeing laws ?

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Out of Range – Work Risks of Wildlife Protection Officers

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by Melody Kemp

 It was nine at night and the shooters had the advantage of superior fire power and night vision goggles …. We stood no chance. Two friends were killed…”

Source: Melody Kemp

David Paklett, a Wildlife Ranger working in Tanzania pulled up his trouser leg and showed me an ugly red scar that looked a bit like an alien pasted to his skin. It was 2013. We were in Spain’s ancient university town of Salamanca, at WILD 10, a sporadic gathering of wilderness and conservation specialists.  He told me how the year before, he and his colleagues had been in a John Woo style shoot out with Vietnamese poachers. The Vietnamese were overhead in a helicopter, firing at them with automatic rifles. ‘It was nine at night and the shooters had the advantage of superior fire power and night vision goggles.’

His words have stayed with me.

‘We stood no chance. Two friends were killed, and I got this.’ When I looked up, his eyes had the look of someone who was looking back with horror. ‘Did you ever talk about that night with anyone?’ I asked sipping a Rioja red. ‘Who is there to tell?’ David grimaced. ‘It’s part of the job. The game has changed. The Chinese are arming these guys and making sure they get away with the kill. The forces behind them are so powerful and we have no resources.’

Lao Rangers in the Annamite mountain range report the same fear according to Bill Robichaud. ‘Camera traps showed these guys (poachers) to have the latest technology, to be well dressed and armed, with modern communication and GPS gear.’ Continue reading “Out of Range – Work Risks of Wildlife Protection Officers”